Global Mail Wins Round in USPS Trademark Suit

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Global Mail Ltd., Sterling, VA, a $35 million international mailing services company, is gaining ground in its trademark infringement lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service.

The mailer is trying to stop the postal service from using the service mark "Global Priority Mail" because it's too similar to its own service mark "Global Mail," an expedited international parcel delivery service.

Edward A. Pennington, a Washington-based attorney for Morgan & Finnegan, LLP, which represents Global Mail, said the case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where it began in 1996. Originally, this court ruled that Global Mail couldn't sue because the USPS' sovereign immunity barred recovery under the federal trademark act known as the Lanham Act.

"We've been kept out of that court by their pursuit of this sovereign immunity issue," he said, "but we are back where we wanted to be, in court and going through discovery."

Pennington expects the case to go to trial in December.

Earlier this summer, the USPS was denied its request for a hearing by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The USPS filed for an en banc rehearing on June 5, where they asked the entire group of judges as opposed to the original three-person panel that heard the suit, for a rehearing, but there wasn't a single judge who wanted to hear it," he said.

The postal service has until Sept. 17 to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is likely, Pennington said. If the decision is upheld, it would have to quit using the infringing name.

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